Those who engage in violent and organized crimes that victimize others often target vulnerable people. Immigrants or those hoping to enter the country are a highly vulnerable population. Some people will take advantage of another person’s desire for a better life and make them the victim of terrible criminal acts.
Spousal abuse, human trafficking and involuntary servitude are all offenses frequently perpetrated against immigrants, both those with and without documentation by the United States government.
The U visa is available for victims of certain crimes
The federal government and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recognize the risk of criminal elements targeting immigrants. Uncertainty about immigration status can prevent victims of crime from speaking up.
The U visa program encourages victims to report crimes they experience. If they assist in the prosecution of certain offenses, victims can receive a visa that allows them to stay in the United States for four years. During that time, they could establish the basis to apply for other visas or a Green Card, provided that they meet certain criteria.
The U visa is an option for those who experience crimes including:
- Female genital mutilation
- Sexual assault
- Domestic violence
- Involuntary servitude
Other similar offenses victimizing an immigrant could qualify the victim for a U visa. These visas even apply in situations where the perpetrator is the spouse or family member of the victim.
Victims of violent crimes need support to protect them
Trying to leave a dangerous situation or punish someone who violated your rights is hard enough. Combining that with immigration sometimes can be too much for one person to handle. No one should have to stand up to criminal victimization alone or endure mistreatment just to remain in the United States.
Applying for a U visa from the USCIS could help you leave abuse or criminal mistreatment in your past without giving up your right to stay in the United States. You may need professional help navigating the criminal justice and immigration systems in the United States. With the right support, you may be able to connect with programs designed to protect people just like you.